OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – For most folks, an arrest warrant is enough to scare you straight, but Oklahomans are facing fake arrest threats in record numbers and losing thousands to scammers along the way.

State officials are now getting involved hoping to stymie the rising fraud.

Sharyl Pickens is a local realtor who received a phone call, allegedly, from the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office last month.

The “deputy” informed her, she was a material witness to a crime involving a minor that occurred at a property she sold some time before, and Sharyl had missed her court date.

“He says we are dispatching deputies right now to arrest you,” Sharyl said. “I’m thinking holy crap, I know you can ping me on my phone.”

Except it wasn’t a real deputy. Sharyl was the target of an impersonation scam

The impersonator though had enough info on Sharyl’s life and career, that the fear was real. She tells News 4 the caller demanded she proactively pay bail or face incarceration.

Around the same time as Sharyl’s phone call, a News 4 employee spoke with a similar scammer over the phone.

The caller claimed an outstanding Oklahoma County arrest warrant would also lead to legal trouble.

“You come in contact with any law enforcement whatsoever, in any kind of way. They run your I.D. they’re going to arrest you,” the scammer threatened.

Impersonation scams can take many forms. From phony IRS calls, fake FBI inquiries, to suspect court summons in your local county.

A study by the Insurance Information Institute found that imposter scams were the 2nd highest reported fraud in 2020.

But the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office hopes these scammos will pay a price soon. John O’Conner has joined a coalition of Attorneys General, calling on the Federal Trade Commission to create more robust rules outlawing impersonation scams.

Luckily, between Sharyl and the News 4 employee, zero money was lost. But Sharyl almost fell victim.

“The court system, while intimidating, doesn’t scare me,” said Sharyl. “This guy scared me because he was acting like a sheriff, saying he was gonna arrest me.”

In Your Corner bottom line, understand that federal or state entities will not be calling to demand any sort of payment over the phone.

Consumers are urged to beware of anyone asking to pay fees through apps like Zelle, CashApp, or any sort of gift card.

If at any point a consumer is suspicious during a phone call, they’re urged to hang up, look up the actual number of the agency in question, and call to clear up confusion.